The hypnotic daze of your For You page
Read to the end for some big pigs enjoying tomato Sunday
The TikTokers Who Have Been “Lost At Sea” For Six Months
Last June, a TikTok user named @samariferrari posted a series of videos claiming that he got stuck on a kayak on a river in Georgia. The @samariferrari account has kept the bit up for six months now. He posts almost every day and at this point in the “story” of his TikTok account, his kayak has been washed out to sea. He claims he’s living off fish he captures with his bare hands, etc.
A few days after @samariferrari started posting about being lost at sea, a second TikToker named @chazcarti started dueting with @samariferrari’s videos, claiming he was coming to save him. Now, months later, @chazcarti is also “lost at sea.”
I actually watched a live video that @chazcarti was doing this morning and it was, hilariously, just a black screen with fuzzed out ocean noises. I got curious how these two were using other platforms, seeing as how their whole gimmick makes it hard to have other active accounts. @chazcarti has a private Instagram and both TikTokers link out to YouTube channels that are just rehosting their TikToks on YouTube Shorts.
It’s also worth noting that people don’t actually seem to like the fake narrative happening on these accounts, compared to the other crop of “fake” TikTokers I wrote about last month. Most of the comments on both of these accounts are from people trying to guess how the two creators are filming the videos.
My guess is that because these videos are, in a sense, a TikTok-native form of watchbait, users are reacting really negatively to them, even if the views are high and their follower counts are in the millions. A lot of users seem to stumble across these videos, briefly think they’re real or at least get curious about them, only to then go and angrily comment about how it’s fake.
I firmly believe you can judge a platform by the spam or clickbait it produces. On Facebook, watchbait is typically more boomer-focused and less dependent on audio — beautiful women making hot dogs with power drills or videos of police hurting people where the police are framed as the good guys. On Twitter, it typically takes the form of relatable text posts from accounts with avatars featuring photos of sad-looking young women who may or may not exist. “McDonalds Sprite is just a vibe that hits different fr,” with links to dildos and projector lights added in down in the replies.
On TikTok, we’re beginning to see the kind of clickbait the platform facilitates. Based on what I’ve seen so far, it seems to be high-concept and much more factory produced. Lots of videos churned out over long periods of time based on some outlandish premise. Something outrageous to pull you out of the hypnotic daze of your For You page. In the case of the lost at sea guys, they’re also using the duet feature and hashtags and shared audio to trick the algorithm into thinking that it’s genuine engagement between the two accounts. (It sort of is genuine, I suppose, in a highly orchestrated way.)
The question is what the lost at sea guys are actually trying to do. They’re spending an incredible amount of time floating around in the ocean for, seemingly, a very dumb joke. A common conspiracy in the comment section is that at a certain point, they’ll delete out all their videos and use their massive accounts to launch branded content. Another theory I saw is that they’re using the accounts to launch live videos, as a way to cash in on TikTok’s gifts feature. But, still, to do this for six months is impressive, if only for the dedication to the bit.
The following is a paid ad. If you’re interested in advertising, fill out this form, and I’ll get back to you shortly. Thanks!
Mothership is an award-winning sci-fi horror tabletop RPG that’s live on Kickstarter right now. Boing Boing called it “a master class” and Jamie of the Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast said, "This might be my favorite role playing game other than D&D.” This game is made by the same people who made the insane party game, Two Rooms and a Boom. Click here to check out the Kickstarter!
A Good Tweet
Tax Law Has Come For The NFT Industry
The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package was passed by Congress on Friday. Nestled in the bill is IRS provision 6050i, which, as it’s currently constructed, would mean that anyone who receives over $10,000 in crypto assets must report it to the IRS while providing the social security numbers of those involved in the transaction within 15 days or face felony charges. A CPA on Twitter named James Yochum posted a decent thread about how this provision will work.
There are two ways to look at this. One, this will hopefully crack down on money laundering via cryptocurrency. Imagine how different the NFT market would look if we knew who was buying their own NFTs 👀. Meanwhile, crypto evangelists say it’s a privacy violation and, also, functionally impossible. If you post a public wallet link and someone sends you $10,001 worth of Ethereum, suddenly you have 15 days to figure out who did it or you get slapped with a felony. Is that a really expensive way to troll someone? Sure, but you should also never underestimate the infinite pettiness of internet users. What I’m saying is, maybe the US government could come up with better ways to regulate the crypto market if they understood what it was they were trying to regulate in the first place!
Anyways, while we’re talking about blockchain, here are few things:
“a lot of people have asked me to make NFT games and I won’t because i’m not a fucking dumbass. now let me tell you why only a dumbass would get into NFT games.”
New MSCHF Stunt Dropped
MSCHF, the digital marketing/viral stunt company/collective thing, has released a new project called Museum Of Forgeries and it’s, honestly, wild. They bought the original print of “Fairies” by Andy Warhol, which is worth $20,000, and then created 999 identical forgeries. MSCHF then sold the forgeries for $250 each. So, for a couple hundred bucks, you suddenly have a 0.001% chance of owning an original Andy Warhol.
“By forging Fairies en masse, we obliterate the trail of provenance for the artwork. Though physically undamaged, we destroy any future confidence in the veracity of the work. By burying a needle in a needlestack, we render the original as much a forgery as any of our replications,” MSCHF’s website reads. “Copies reduce value but increase revenue.”
Unrivaled Brands CTO Colin Landforce remarked on Twitter, “Destruction by duplication. An anti-NFT project.” Which is actually a really fun way of thinking about this whole thing. MSCHF has effectively destroyed an original Warhol, but, in doing so, earned an 1,150% return on their investment and, also, in a weird way, have given 1,000 people the opportunity to possibly own a Warhol, thus making the artwork less exclusive and more democratic.
Another Update On MrBeast’s Squid Game
I am genuinely obsessed with how dark and insane MrBeast’s Squid Game project is. I’ve written about this a few times now, but here’s where we are currently. James “MrBeast” Donaldson is a YouTuber with around 120 million followers across all of his channels. He’s also worth about $15 million. His main bit is that he gives a way a lot of money in viral stunts, which then, because we live in a nightmare from which we cannot wake, only helps him make more money.
A few weeks ago, MrBeast announced that he was building an IRL Squid Game. Photos appeared on Twitter of the YouTuber painting a few sets, but it wasn’t until he shared a video over the weekend that people really understood how extensive this whole thing is. The dude is literally building the facility with cranes and stuff. In his most recent tweets about the project, he complained that it was costing him more than he expected, which makes me wonder if there’s an American anticapitalist drama/comedy worth writing in which an internet millionaire goes bankrupt trying to accurately recreate a death game arena from a Korean anticapitalist drama/comedy.
What Is Happening On Vin Diesel’s Instagram?
Vin Diesel took to Instagram to post what is now, already, one of the most iconic posts in internet history. Here’s the whole thing:
My little brother Dwayne... the time has come. The world awaits the finale of Fast 10. As you know, my children refer to you as Uncle Dwayne in my house. There is not a holiday that goes by that they and you don’t send well wishes... but the time has come. Legacy awaits. I told you years ago that I was going to fulfill my promise to Pablo. I swore that we would reach and manifest the best Fast in the finale that is 10! I say this out of love... but you must show up, do not leave the franchise idle you have a very important role to play. Hobbs can’t be played by no other. I hope that you rise to the occasion and fulfill your destiny.
Pablo, by the way, according to IGN, is a reference to Paul Walker. If you haven’t been following the internal machinations of the Fast Saga, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson left the main franchise to make the Hobbs & Shaw spin-offs with Jason Statham. There are a lot of rumors as to why this happened, but it’s generally believed that Diesel and Johnson had a falling out over Diesel being an overbearing jerk on set.
Well, now that Diesel has extended an olive branch, how will Johnson respond? Will he rise to the occasion and fulfill his destiny? Legacy awaits!!
A Chinese eSports Win Goes A Bit Out Of Control
Over the weekend, China’s Edward Gaming team, or EDG, won the League of Legends world championship. EDG played against DWG Kia, a South Korean team, in a finals match in Reykjavik, Iceland.
According to PC Gamer, the match had about 4 million viewers outside of China, with many more tuning in from behind the Great Firewall, though those figures aren’t out yet. But I mean, check out the absolutely insane crowds reacting to the win.
If you’ve never heard of League of Legends, sometimes abbreviated as LoL, it’s one of the oldest and biggest eSports. The most common version of the game played at the competitive level is a five-on-five multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, game. In terms of strategy and complexity, imagine if chess was real-time and each piece was controlled by a different player on a team.
According to Manya Koetse, who writes What’s On Weibo, during the post-victory celebrations, students in Xianyang climbed up a flag pole and replaced the Chinese flag with EDG’s team flag and there are reports that law enforcement is now involved.
There’s another interesting political angle to this, as well. Right now, eSports in China is a massive multi-billion industry, but in August, as the South China Morning Post notes, the country’s video game regulator, the National Press and Publication Administration, passed a few very strict new rules which limit the amount of time players under-18 can spend gaming. Basically, anyone underaged is only allowed to play video games one hour a day, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, which could seriously cut into the country’s eSports industry.
Apparently, the Chinese government didn’t consider (or don’t care) that their new laws will effectively kill off the next generation of pro-gamers, which is one of the country’s largest entertainment industries.
Some Real Good Leggings
This Amazon review was shared by the @womenpostingws Twitter account over the weekend. I found the link to the leggings on Amazon and the review, which you can check out here. I was hoping there would be more context for this and I really excited to say I have none. I went through the reviewer’s user history and all of her other reviews are totally normal. There’s no evidence this is some kind of Amazon review troll, just a woman who may have actually rolled down a mountain in really high-quality leggings and wanted to tell the world about it.
Even better, here’s a recent review on the same pair of leggings:
Some Stray Links
“Our democracy is under attack. Washington journalists must stop covering it like politics as usual.”
P.S. here’s some big pigs enjoying tomato Sunday (Tumblr mirror).
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***